CEBU City Mayor Edgardo Labella has sought the help of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) lawyers to assess the status of the inmates at the Cebu City Jail (CCJ) in Barangay Kalunasan as a way to decongest the facility.
Some inmates, who are still waiting for a verdict, may have been detained for years equivalent to the length of the prison sentence of their crimes, said Labella.
Courts’ backlog of cases is often cited as reason why several inmates have to wait for years before judges could hand in their decisions. The country’s judiciary system also lacks courts and judges.
According to Labella, some inmates may seek probation if there are circumstances that could mitigate their participation in crimes like voluntary surrender. With IBP’s help, Labella said the City can check who are the overstaying inmates at the CCJ.
However, the facility is not run by the City but by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.
The city has an overcrowded jail, said Labella. The CCJ was built for 1,800 inmates, but it has a current population of 5,800.
On Friday, Aug. 23, 2019, Labella will visit the CCJ to see for himself its status, and discuss with the jail warden his plans to decongest the facility.
The mayor’s visit was prompted by the City Council, which placed Kalunasan under a state of calamity due to the foul smell reportedly coming from the defective sewage treatment facilities at the CCJ and Cebu Provincial Rehabilitation and Detention Center (CPDRC), which is run by the Capitol.
“I want to find out for myself how bad the situation is there, so we can find a solution to that,” Labella said.
During the City Council’s regular session last Aug. 13, Councilor Nestor Archival passed a resolution urging his fellow legislators to agree with him to place Kalunasan under a state of calamity. A committee was then formed to monitor the barangay.
Archival said the overpopulation of the CCJ and CPDRC is one of the factors that led to the high volume of wastes collected at the two facilities.
The CPDRC, which was built for 1,500 detainees, currently has 2,448 inmates.
Archival also suggested sending the CCJ’s 400 adopted inmates from the Naga City Jail back to their own facility. These inmates were transferred to the CCJ after the massive landslide that happened in Barangay Tina-an, Naga City in September last year.
Kalunasan residents have been complaining about the stench coming from the CCJ and CPDRC since 2015.
As it is a rainy season, several residents have complained again about the foul smell after the waterways located near the two jails overflowed. (JJL)